Earlier this month, Google raised eyebrows when it sold smartphone patents to HTC - particularly because the Tawainese company is tangled in complicated litigation with Apple over its Galaxy tablet and smartphones. Apple was miffed, to put it mildly, when HTC turned around shortly thereafter and made new claims against it based on the new patents.
This week, Google may be tasting some of its own medicine. The Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft and Samsung have reached a smartphone patent sharing agreement. In even negotiating, writer Evan Ramstad says, Samsung is acknowledging there may be some substance to Microsoft's claims that Android uses Microsoft intellectual property.
The agreement will allow Microsoft to collect royalties on Samsung's Android-based phones and Samsung to build devices that run Microsoft's Windows.
That, of course, could put a serious kink in Google's plan to keep the Android platform free for other handset makers. Moreover, if Samsung is willing to deal, who's to say Motorola's not next on Microsoft's hit list?
Hang on tight. This one will probably get really ugly before it's over.